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South Korean Study Tour

At the beginning of the year, Caboolture High hosted a group of students from South Korea.  The tour consisted of seven female and three male students aged between 14-16 years.  The South Korean students arrived at our school on Monday 29 January and departed on Friday 23 February.
The first meeting for our South Korean visitors was a little daunting and awkward due to their limited English however, it wasn’t long before they became well-adjusted and comfortable as part of their host families and our school community.
During the tour, the students attended 22 specialised English lessons as well as being integrated into our school community to experience a wide variety of classes and subjects.  These classes included spending time getting up close with the animals and plants at the Ag farm, entertaining classes with their version of drama, music and visual art, fascinating science lessons with our biology and chemistry departments and fun lessons spent playing sport down at the gym.  This group of students spent most of their breaks near the tuckshop buying large amounts of chocolate milk and sushi.  I also heard from their host families that they had extremely healthy appetites, with noodles and Tim Tams being some of their favourite foods.
Our host families and student buddies did an amazing job, welcoming the students into their homes and giving them experiences they will never forget.  The wonder and excitement that spread across their faces when experiencing something new is something that we will never forget.  It’s a very fulfilling feeling when the students experience something new, something that we Australian families take for granted such as the size of our backyards, the clear view of stars in the night sky, driving cars (they were very ‘wowed’ about us young learner drivers!) and local wildlife that live among us.  The list could go on.
There were many long nights during the tour, staying up and talking with our guests about their lives in Korea and what they liked in Australia, if they missed their families, what music they liked and what hobbies they had.  Basic conversation I know, but it was with this basic conversation that we bonded.
Many fun moments were had during the tour, including the weekend trips to Brisbane & Southbank, a thrilling day of rides at Movie World and a refreshing day at Wet ‘N’ Wild.  On the beach we played amongst the waves, made sandcastles and played Korean games while trying, unsuccessfully, to view the Super Blood Blue Moon.  There were times of fishing and adventuring and there were also times of chilling out at home.  As a last hurrah, I took my two exchange students to visit my horses where they stood for a good ten minutes cuddling and patting them.  An experience they would hardly get back home in Korea.  They were very amazed to know that one of the horses could speak Spanish! Then we went on a hunt.  A hunt to find some kangaroos.  It was a tiring activity driving around for 30 minutes trying to find some, but the wait was worth it.  There was a sense of magic in the air as they stared out the window watching a group of kangaroos grazing alongside the road.  They were absolutely delighted when they noticed one had a Joey in its pouch! 
After all the fun and excitement of the tour, it disappointingly came to an end.  But not before we all enjoyed a big farewell lunch.  A classic Aussie BBQ lunch.  Everyone filled up on sausages on bread and burgers, fruit and cookies.  When the entertainment part of the afternoon came, everyone had fun singing and dancing to popular Korean music.  Time flew by and it was soon time for the students to depart for their travel back to Korea. 
Friendships have been forged and precious memories created. When the students departed, there were many tears and sad farewells.  There were many hugs and assurances that we would stay in touch and one-day visit Korea.  It took a good ten minutes to finally get them seated and on their way.  I can confidently say that my heart broke when I saw the bus turn the corner and drive out of my vision.
On behalf of the host families and student buddies, we all miss our Korean students deeply.  In the short month our guests were with us, they have touched our hearts and our lives and given us memories we will never forget.  I can guarantee that we will all stay in touch.  Thank you to Mrs Long, for organising this event each year and giving us this experience. 
I spoke to some of our exchange students and told them I would be writing this article, they begged me to say something for them.  If they had a chance to visit Australia again, they would take it in a heartbeat.  They have become extremely fond of Australia and the people they met while they were here.  They miss their host families and buddies very much. 
I would like to take this opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of our host families who welcomed our overseas visitors into their homes during this time.   You have all done an amazing job and all your efforts are certainly appreciated.  I would also like to thank our awesome school buddies who dedicate their time at school to look after these students.  A big shout out goes to Elliot Bow (9M2), Katelyn McEwan (12S2), Maddison Bridges (12B1), Tyler Shore (12M2), Greg Thomas (12S2) and all the other Caboolture High students who helped to make our South Korean students feel welcome during their stay with us.
Mallory Cruickshank
Education Qld International Global Leader